Jaipur: A four-wicket haul by left-arm spinner KP Appanna and blistering half-centuries from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ab de Villiers orchestrated a clinical 46-run win for the visiting Royal Challengers Bangalore team here in Jaipur against the Rajasthan Royals.
But Bangalore, who were 62 for 2 at the end of 10 overs, have to chiefly thank de Villiers (59 not out off 23) and Dilshan (76 not out off 58) to put up an intimidating 189 for 3 on the board. However, nothing can be taken away from Appanna who was bowling to tournament’s in-form batting line-up that included Orange Cap-holder Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah.
Rajasthan’s run-chase kicked off on a bright note, with Rahane and Rahul Dravid putting up a 56-run stand. But Rahane seemed to have suffered from the lack of strike as he tried to go after Appanna but failed to clear the boundary.
While Dravid continued to find the boundary, Owais Shah (10) and Shreevats Goswami (1) became the next victims of Appanna’s guile to turn a good start into a shaky one at 87 for 3 in the 12th over. And when Appanna had the big fish Dravid caught for 58, Rajasthan were left to fight a lost battle, with the required run-rate soaring past 13.
Brad Hodge (10), who has been instrumental as a finisher in a couple of wins this season, was the hosts’ last hope but he too succumbed to the pressure of chasing a big total, falling prey to Harshal Patel. Thereafter, it was all about the tailenders using the long handle and the Bangalore bowlers buying some cheap wickets in the form of Kevon Cooper (8) and Brad Hogg (13), while Stuart Binny chipped in with a futile 20 not out.
Other than Appanna, Harshal Patel (2 for 32) and Zaheer Khan (1 for 30) were the wicket-takers for Bangalore.
But the day belonged to the 122-run blitzkrieg shared by de Villiers and Dilshan after Virat Kohli came in to open with Dilshan. Gayle – who didn’t open because of sickeness – came in at No. 4 after Kohli’s bad patch was extended by Pankaj Singh; he made just 16. Mayank Aggarwal hung around for a while but was netted by Brad Hogg in attempts to break the shackles. And when a less-than-100-per-cent Gayle was caught in front by Hogg for 10, the scoreboard showed Bangalore in a bother and Rajasthan in control at 67 for 3.
However, that’s when Rajasthan started losing their grip over the RCB innings. It didn’t take long for Dilshan and de Villiers to bring out their unconventional strokeplay and the counter-attack mainly hurt the figures of Siddharth Trivedi (4-0-44-0).
While de Villiers hit three fours and five sixes in his blistering knock, Dilshan was not to be left behind, stroking 10 fours and one six.